Economic and environmental sustainability in Oman's energy sector

Bushra Al-MaskariAs Director of Planning and Economics at Oman Power and Water Procurement, Bushra Al-Maskari is responsible for the team that forecasts demand for power and water in Oman, and ensures that needs are met in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. Before starting the MPP in 2014, she worked in the public sector as a Regulatory Specialist at the Authority for Electricity Regulation, Oman, assessing the economic feasibility and social and environmental factors of national renewable energy projects.

She applied for the MPP in order to get the thorough grounding in policymaking that would make her work more effective, and benefited from the wide-ranging curriculum offered by the course.

“Studying economic policy was very relevant to my career, and the introduction to philosophy helped me develop critical thinking. The MPP gives you a holistic approach to policy, rather than concentrating on one particular aspect. This was important for me because of the multidisciplinary nature of work in the energy sector.”

After completing the MPP, she was promoted to senior policy and strategy specialist at the Authority for Electricity Regulation, thus becoming responsible for energy efficiency policy. This area is high priority for the Oman government, due to the urgent need for alternative energy sources beyond fossil fuels. In this role, she called upon the connections she made during her summer project on electrical subsidies at Chatham House in London.

“Working at Chatham House enabled me to make links between UK research and policy in Oman. I formed ties which I called upon when I was looking at renewable energy and energy efficiency back in Oman.”

In November 2018, she moved to the private sector, taking up a role as Director of Planning and Economics at Oman Power and Water Production Company, the main buyer and seller of electricity in the country. In this capacity, she continues to have an impact on the public sector, providing crucial data and insights to the government which inform national energy policy.

For this cross-sector work, Bushra relies on the learnings of the MPP. “Understanding the structures and processes of government allows me to work with the public sector effectively, aligning our plans with national energy strategies.” The knowledge gained has given her a more informed approach to issues in the energy sector. “For example on the course I learned that nuclear power is first and foremost a political issue – it is economically sound, but politically unpopular. This kind of insight has helped me in my work with the government.”

Bushra has focused on developing her leadership and managerial skills since the MPP, and her new position offers huge scope for professional development. “There’s so much that is new to me: being part of the executive management team, making decisions for the organisation as a whole, coordinating different departments and future-proofing the company.” Bushra plans to make the most of these professional opportunities and relishes the opportunity to shape a sector which affects the entire population.

March 2019